Knocker frocks and doodles – breastfeeding in public made easy

I am Super Silver Top.

nouveau window dress

I will apologise first for the simple fact that breastfeeding came easily to me (sorry).

Why apologise? Because I know it can be a real struggle for many women. From the latch not being right, to tongue tie to under/over production, to diet restrictions due to your baby having allergies… I know that it can be a really, really hard road.

I have even felt guilty for it coming so easily to me. (It’s ok though, we all have regrets. Mine are about birth so breastfeeding is allowed to be my success story, right?).

I can’t help you with medical specifics but I can help you to feel more confident to give it a go.

A major struggle many women contend with is not wanting to breastfeed while they are out and about. Someone might see, you might leak, your baby might be fussy, you might end up with too many spills…. I know. The worries that go through your head are tough and I am done with trying to squeeze into the back seat to feed my baby in the hot car uncomfortably when I could relax and sit in a park and enjoy the breeze.

You see, when I first started breastfeeding my son I didn’t like the semi-corporate style that was prevalent at the time. I wanted to wear a dress. I wanted to dress comfortably and most of all, I wanted to wear something that was fun, easy to wash and wear AND easy to feed in. (Yes I did once wear a maxi dress and realise in horror that I couldn’t feed from the top…!)

So I designed a dress that meant that I could wear A DRESS that didn’t have any weird little zips or windows that I had to fumble around with.

nz designer fashion for breastfeeding

Batwing dress worn with a belt is a stylish breastfeeding solution for special occasions and every day wear too.

My Outie dress design allowed me to breastfeed in public with more confidence. No fumbling and no flashing and lots of style and comfort. In fact, it was from breastfeeding in public that people started to ask me to make one for them, and then their friend, and then their friends’ friends –  and it has made me shift the focus of my little business to be all about these dresses because I love them so much.

I make them. I wear them. I love them.

My dresses are FUN so we have called them ‘Knocker frocks’.

They are FUNCTIONAL so we also call them breastfeeding dresses.

They feed through a Batwing sleeve design so we also used to call them the ‘Everything Batwing’.

Whatever you call them, it’s simple and easy to breastfeed in an Outie dress.

All you do is pull the sleeve to the side so that your baby has access to your breast. Some women wear nursing singlets underneath or you can wear just a nursing bra or a boob tube or crop top. Once your baby has established a latch, you can let the sleeve fall nicely over your breast so that you can nurse your baby discretely without exposing your breast.

NZ designer breastfeeding fashion

All of my dresses are designed by me and made in my home studio in Auckland, NZ.

My knocker frocks mean that you can breastfeed confidently and snuggle with your baby without worrying about having a cover that might fall or a cover that your baby will kick off or pull at and without messing around with little zips, pleats or secret openings.

Outie dresses take the struggle out and put the snuggle in.

TEN reasons why my Outie knocker frocks rock:

1) Sleeve-feeding technology makes breastfeeding easy

2) Moisture wicking fabric mean that spills and leaks can be wiped up easily

3) All fabric is tested for moisture visibility in case of spills

4) Breathable light weight fabrics chosen to help with overheating (hormones!)

5) Fun fabric prints designed in house (hence ‘doodles’)

textile design nz designer nz fashion

All fabrics in the signature print range are designed by me too

6) Home-sewn to order so that you can add your personal touch if desired (drop hem/contrast back/design your own print)

7) Dresses can also be worn as tops with jeans or tights

breastfeeding dress nz made

Breastfeeding should not be a struggle and should be more about the snuggle.

8) All dresses are also excellent special occasion dresses

9) All dresses are made in NZ

10) Purchasing Outie products supports a work at home Mama of two

AND I ship globally FYI.

I will shout it from the roof tops because I know your life will be better and I want to make breastfeeding more enjoyable for you and I know my dresses make a difference.

You are welcome. Shop now.

Love Katrina.

Dad like a Champ with this ‘secret’ formula. (You. Man. Do This).

This is it guys. This is the secret list you have been waiting for that will make you the ultimate husband, partner, significant other (and dad). It’s a list compiled from the secret and hallowed rants and vents that mothers share when you do not do these few simple things.

This list will make things at home better.

At the very least you will have a reference point when you are wondering why your lovely wife/partner/mother of your children is frustrated and sad (Have you not been doing number one? Shame on you!)

I’ve numbered them to make it easy.

You can cross them off each number at a time. Whatever works.

But this list will work.

Do them like a boss.

THE FIRST FIFTEEN SECRETS TO BEING AN AWESOME DAD

  1. Tell her she is doing a good job
  2. Help her to make time for herself
  3. Never watch her doing chores
  4. Give her a hug without her asking for it
  5. Recognise that raising children is a job too
  6. Realise that she loves the baby/ies, but sometimes she needs time to just be by herself.
  7. Make time to spend with her each week – even if it’s just an hour and a half to watch a DVD together
  8. Ask her what you can do to help.
  9. Organise date night
  10. Prioritise family time in the weekends.
  11. Surprise her sometimes with a sleep in. Coffee in bed for bonus points.
  12. If you see something she hasn’t gotten around to and you have a spare minute – just do it. (It means she won’t have to do it late at night and she might get to bed earlier (Win-Win! Wink-wink).
  13. Plan the occasional outing with the kids (preferably while the house is tidy) so she can have a precious hour to herself
  14. Tell her she is beautiful even when she has puke stains and fat pants on
  15. Make time to talk to her at night – some days it may be the only face-to-face adult conversation she has

NB: Note that none of this has very much to do with parenting of the actual baby/kids. Let’s just start here. It’s easy isn’t it?

Where did this post come from? Well, recently I read some ugly statistics about marriage and life after babies and how there is a general sense of decline in daily happiness and I thought, bugger that. There is an easy fix – and the main thing is starting with how everyone feels on a daily basis…. and this list will help.

What do you think? Have I left anything out? Mums? Dads? Your comments count.

Thanks for reading. If you liked this post, please click follow before you go.

You know what I mean

OMG! The Best Organic Cotton Baby Blankets Ever!

The title for this post comes from a customer’s review. It’s pretty nice of her. Thanks Katy.x

So what is it about Outie’s organic cotton baby blankets that makes them the best?

1) Designed in New Zealand

I studied Fine Arts at Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland, New Zealand and I have always loved drawing. Prior to opening Outie, I taught English, Art History and Art (painting) in secondary schools so it makes me happy to still be drawing every day. My inspiration is often locally sourced (Kowhai hearts, NZ native flora) because a good day for me starts with a bush walk and I use my walking time as thinking time of ‘what could be cool’ for someone’s baby.

Kowhai Native NZ designer organic cotton blanket

Native New Zealand Kowhai heart patterned organic cotton baby blanket by Outie

2) Original Illustrations

I am also an illustrator (have you seen my first published book? Squee! It’s a fun practise run for my button baby coming soon.) and I like to keep a hand-drawn vibrant feel to all of my designs. Some imperfections in my drawings are left in as part of the process (sometimes I have a toddler on my knee or I am feeding my baby late at night (we do not talk about sleep club) – and, for instance, now I am writing one-handed with my 11 month old wriggling on my knee). Some drawings start out as scribbles on the back of bills and then I digitise them whenever I can find the time. I love how each drawing has a story that is so much a part of my life at home with my kids. The popular Saurus. Raurus. print, for example, happened because of the way my son learned to say ‘dinosaur’ as ‘saurus ‘ and then called ‘lion’ a ‘roarus’.

aleep aid mini organic cotton baby blanket comforter

Dinosaurs and lions are called ‘saurus’ or ‘roarus’ by our two year old and so this fun little design happened for this organic cotton baby blanket comforter or sleep aid.

saurus mini blanket

3) Made to order

There is a three week wait time for most orders because I don’t like to keep stock stored for a long period of time. I also find it hard to predict what will be popular because I have my own quirky sense of style that might not be to everyone’s taste. Philosophically I also love how each blanket is actually printed with purpose so it is made for the right reasons from the get go. I am also aware of babies and dust allergies so keeping storage time down at every part of the process is important to me.

organic cotton custom baby blanket hippos

A custom organic cotton blanket design featuring hippos for a nz customer . “Hippo Dreams” for Kristin.

4) Certified organic cotton

Fabric is sourced from the United States and it is a natural white organic cotton interlock knit. I love how it is not pristine ‘Persil white’ and that is has more of an unbleached colour to it. They are certified organic cotton baby blankets as the fabric is certified in the USA by Global Organic Textile Standards.

5) Water based inks

Outie organic cotton baby blankets are printed using eco-friendly water based inks. No additional chemicals are used in the printing process so they are a safe solution to swaddling your baby traditionally.

organic cotton kids bedding cot sheets

Custom cot sheet sets and single bed sets available by request.

6) Sewn in my home studio

Outie is currently just me. That means you can imagine your blanket being cut by me and sewn by me and it won’t just happen in your imagination. This is a weird additional detail, but I also never sew when I am in a bad mood because I believe that projects can absorb the energy that was around when they were born. That might be a bit hippy dippy but I can happily say that every single Outie thing is made with love and happiness.

7) Little blankets too

We use all of our fabric and this means that we also offer soother blankets, cuddlies, snugglies or mini comforter blankets to help older children sleep. My organic cotton baby blanket mini blankets can be a great comfort for babies with separation anxiety or to help them to feel secure in general. Mum or Dad can tuck the smaller blanket inside their shirt so that the blankies absorb their smell and this makes the comforter blanket more comforting because it smells like a parent. Some people like their teddies or dolls to have matching blankets rather than using them as a comforter blanket. They are 45cm square.

organic cotton comforter soother woogie cuddly sleep aid

Mini organic cotton comforter blanket or teddy/doll blanket featuring my ‘Little Hunter’ print.

8) Inspired by my children

I never planned to open a ‘baby’ business… but it is all falling into place because my two children are my constant inspiration and I love being at home with them. Everything I make/have made for Outie is because I wanted to make it for them (or me as their mum) first.

comfort blanket sleep aid attachment prop

We call our daughter’s dinosaur organic cotton comfort blanket her ‘woogie’ but they are called all kinds of other things traditionally.

 

9) Custom designs

I can match nursery colours, add names, use symbols or family motifs that are important to you to make your blanket extra special. I love coming up with designs that are special for my customers.

10) Thick cotton

The thickness of our organic cotton baby blankets is like a ‘thick T-shirt cotton’. The organic cotton we use for our baby blankets is soft and foldy and delicious. “I can vouch for how soft this fabric is. It is amazing.” – Melanie

11) Breathable/absorbs smell

As a natural fiber, cotton absorbs smell which is why cotton (and merino) are such staples for babies. Our blankets are also breathable so that babies who like to put their comforter over their face (why do they do that?!) can still breathe. It is best to remove it all the same…

13) Generously sized and suitable for swaddling

The organic cotton fabric we use has a crosswise stretch of about 25% making it a nice soft stretch for swaddling purposes. The size of the big blankets (90cm square) is also a nice swaddling size to give a nice sense of security right from the newborn stage.

14) Matching reusable wipes

I make sets of 6 reusable wipes up out of smaller off cuts of our organic cotton and these make an amazing money saving extra. You can just wet them with water and use them for all things baby. Because they are thick, you will find that you will use one wipe (maybe two) per change. They can be rinsed and washed just like cloth nappies and are a real money saver long term. We have only ever bought TWO packs of wet wipes in nearly three years…

organic cotton reusable wipes by Outie

Organic cotton designer print reusable wipes come in a set of 6.

15) NZ Made and Local

Although we get our organic cotton fabric from the United States (no cotton fields in NZ!), everything else is done right here in our home studio in the Waitakere Ranges in West Auckland, New Zealand. It’s all done by me (Katrina) from design through to packaging… so you can feel good about supporting a local business and a stay at home mummy (me) doing her thing too.

 Get your designer organic cotton blanket here.

Mental Marriage in Twenty Minutes – A Romance

Love and daydreams...

Love and daydreams…

Scene: Chinese Walk-In Massage Service, Back Room. Dim Lighting.

She: “I would like a foot rub please”

He: “$55 for a foot spa, head and shoulders.”

She: “How long will that take?”

He: “35 minutes”

She looked at her baby wriggling in her husband’s arms and mentally clocked how long it had been since she last fed her.

She: “Um, can I just get my feet rubbed.”

He: “Twenty minutes. $35?”

She: “Yes thanks – that will be great.”

Husband: “Come on Honey. Let’s leave Mummy to it.”

The baby , less squirmy, left in the arms of her father.

Then hush.

She placed her things in a basket under the bed, switched off her phone and kicked off her sandals.

She placed them under the bed carefully, wondering if they should go in the basket too.

She lay down on the bed and propped herself up with the provided pillows.

“Closer” he said.

She shuffled down the bed, now fully reclined.

The room was quiet.

The door was closed.

And he began.

Systematic pressure, long deep strokes.

Feathery release.

Directional and deeper still.

She could hear the fan.

The clock ticked.

She shifted uncomfortably, wondering how she could bear staring at a strange man for twenty minutes.

He had only just started…

He looked up, frowned a little.

Amused, he returned his attention to the task.

She closed her eyes.

She felt the space on her hip, the space at her hand.

No children!

Bliss.

Nobody needed her.

Quiet.

He kneaded her.

The music played softly in layers.

First the soft syrupy flute in the room ,then underneath the louder and familiar pop thumps of the mall.

She sank further into the bed.

He pushed.

She winced.

“Ah, that’s tender” he said.

“Yes” she said.

Tender.

He didn’t speak.

Neither did she.

The space between them softened.

Edges of the world were smoothed.

She was in an apartment, in a different life, she had dumplings and chopsticks and pretty porcelain.

She had cute slippers.

She had a cat.

There were quiet evenings and arguments over where to place the new green lamp.

And, high up in their apartment away from everywhere, they could tune in to the sky quietly buzzing.

Quiet buzzing.

“Finished” he said.

Eyes open.

White room.

Tingling feet.

“Thank you!” she said.

“Next time get a soak to soften the skin” he said.

Embarrassed, she paid her bill and divorced him.

###

I don’t often write in the romance genre. Based on a partly true story, those moments of freedom are so few and far between that anything can happen…

Like this post? Click follow before you go. X

The Daily Cycle – An Infographic (or how I can still say that ‘sometimes’ I am a Zen parent)

Sometimes less is more when it comes to writing. This is a pretty accurate picture of an average day for me… Inspired by a ‘Cute – cute – cute – super-cute – friggen disgusting – cute – cute’ measure about five minutes ago. (Make sure you read the tags for this post).Daily Cycle Baby Daily Cycle Toddler Daily Cycle

Liked? Please let me know and click follow (on the right) before you go.

Mucho aroha (and back to my little monsters)

Katrina (Outie)

Cave Babies Don’t Cry – Notes on Paleo Parenting

Cave Babies Don’t Cry – Notes on Paleo Parenting*

Plato's Cave theories might apply to parenting too...

Plato’s Cave theories might apply to parenting too…

Paleo diets we have all heard of, but what about Paleo Parenting?

Life lately has been a little fractious. We parents have been thrown a few curve balls that have kept us on the edge. We sleep on the edge of the bed, we sit on the edge of our seats, and our minds are on the edge of sanity as we think, ‘What next?’

We stare at each other, dumbfounded and surrounded by the flotsam and jetsam of a fast-paced life with kids.

Each time I find myself feeling frazzled, anxious and ‘over it’… there is a little voice in the back of my head that asks, ‘What would a cave woman do?’ I’m not sure where my cave voice has come from, but it is there all the same.

Most of my best parenting strategies have come from my grandmother’s generation (baking soda and vinegar for all cleaning, sunlight for getting out stains, homemade baking saving the day…) but what if we turn the clocks back further, much further, to be, like, Paleolithic?

Can we do without modernity, without expectation, without the mass ‘intelligence’ that is the internet? Could doing without the endless modern things we burden ourselves with potentially shine some new light on some of our old parenting problems?

Is Paleo Parenting the answer? I’m giving it a bit of air time.

On Philosophy and Feminism

I have struggled with my role as housewife. I left my job as a full time teacher to become a mother and I have resented the housework, the staying at home, the isolation and the running of the house that has become my new job.

I sometimes wonder if I would be happier if there was less expectation of me to achieve and more acceptance that being a mum/cave dweller is a full time job in and of itself. Pre-pre-feminism when women in the workforce were not even part of the equation.

Stop. Before you send a lynch mob – I don’t mean to abolish equal rights or to muffle any female voices, but it has occurred to me that IF I wasn’t so hung up on my own career and so caught up in what ELSE I should be then my role as a mother MIGHT be easier to accept.

Question: In a truly feminist household, who does the cleaning?

It still needs to be done and doesn’t it make sense that the person who is at home most should potentially be responsible for the lion’s share thereof?

My man can happily do the hunting because I am squeamish about killing things.

He can dig the drains because I am rubbish with a spade.

He can maintain the car because beyond tyre pressure and oil checks, I am less equipped to diagnose automotive problems.

He is stronger than me and he can do the heavy labour jobs outside while I take responsibility for keeping ‘the den’ clean and the babies fed and entertained. (see houseproud article here)

I have breasts…hear me roar.

IF I could get my head around all this philosophical stuff about the transition of a woman’s role as worker to house-keeper (which I still can’t most days), then potentially I would have less to fight about with my man. (It’s a recurring argument). I’m thinking aloud here – what do you think?

On Sleeping and Self Settling

A recent difficulty has been putting mister two to bed. He got a new sister nine months ago, a big bed and his own room around the same time. Before his little sister arrived, he went to bed and to sleep without any major drama. Now it is Drama Central.

He gets out of bed and cries. He clings to us and cries. He yells and cries. He hits himself and throws things and begs for kisses and more stories and cries. He slams his door and cries.

How does this relate to the cave?

I have tried closing the door. I have tried sitting on his bed with him. I have tried laying with him. I have tried telling him to stay in his room and I have tried growling at him with my stern ‘teacher voice’ (NOT to be messed with, excuse me).

But nothing has been working.

So, talking it out with my man, we tried to figure out WHY all this drama. To Paleo Parenting I turn…

In a cave he would probably just curl up in a corner near us and go to sleep, reassured because he could still see us. Reassured because he could see the flickering light of the fire (my cave picture is rosy isn’t it…) and reassured because he is with his clan and not outcast to his own separate den.

I’m not judging anyone for any kind of parenting or any sleep arrangements but we worked out that his performance was because he was not in the cave with us (so to speak) and he potentially felt insecure.

So, with Paleo Parenting in mind and listening to the cave voice, the last three nights I have kept his door wide open and told him gently (and repeatedly) to go to bed. He is not trapped in his room, he is not in the dark alone, the light from the lounge floods his room, he is nearby and he can still hear us, his sister is not stealing his place by the fire and, so far, my cave concept, appears to be working. Go figure.

On travel and trips

Last week I had my worst outing yet with mister two and it was entirely my fault.

I had a full vacuous 24 hours of solo parenting in front of me and I wanted to fill it with fun. Consequently I filled the day with errands and visits, with play grounds and activities and topped it all off with a late afternoon visit to a friend’s house to share Fish and Chips.

Mistake.

No nap + Big day + strange environment + interrupted routine + too many in/out of car dramas = MONSTER BOY

I don’t want to go into it but it was not fun.

What would a Paleo Parent do and how does cave philosophy solve this drama? It tells me to take life more slowly. Days don’t have to be filled with a hundred and one activities.

I rushed him and I overstimulated him and I overcooked him.

One trip would have been a big enough mission for a little cave boy’s little cave legs and little cave brain. We should have stayed near the den when his nap didn’t happen, we should have taken it easy and rolled the rock in front of our cave entrance and hibernated together in the cosy dark. The little monster may have still reared his ugly head, but I doubt to the same degree.

On babywearing

Where would I be without my babywearing devices?

Happiest is my baby when she is on me, with me, near me. It makes sense in a cave not to leave them on the floor or to sleep them far from you when lions and tigers and bears lurk about. (because we have those in nz don’t you know…)

To add to the ‘simple trips’ note above; if we wore our babies until they could walk, we would still only do short trips and potentially avoid the ‘overcooking’ of our children. (Doing too much in one day /venturing too far would mean that YOU would have to carry them back… so you only go as much as all of you can physically manage.)

Whenever I am in doubt or struggling with an unsettled baby, out comes a wrap or carrier of some description and I wear her. In most cases, this is the quickest way to calm her.

On baby food

Pre-blenders and pre-pre-packaged foods, what would you feed your baby?

When I find myself stressing about my baby’s diet, I try to keep things simple. She eats what I eat. If it is too tough, I pre-chew it for her.

Is that gross? Or is it just simpler than getting out a blender or relying on processed/packaged food stuffs?

Incidentally (factoid alert) the bacteria in your own saliva can actually help your baby’s digestion system. I read that somewhere… (glad I can read, let’s not go too ‘cave’ now…)

 

On maternal knowledge

How much do you rely on your mother for mothering advice? I call mine pretty frequently and it would be easier if she lived closer to us.

In a cave-dwelling society our mothers would be closer and knowledge could be shared more easily from generation to generation. We could have the village they say we need to raise our children.

Have you noticed that the passing down of knowledge from mother to daughter is not as natural as it used to be? We are having our babies later and later and the extended generational gap is making it more difficult for our mothers to recall what we were really like as infants. Their advice can be outdated and/or difficult to recall… Instead we rely much more heavily on the shared cultural knowledge of our contemporaries on the internet.

On play

Paleo parents would have to be creative. Rather than buy the latest toys, books and DVDs for children, parents would have to be resourceful and find things for their children to use with their imagination. A stick and some sand, some stones to stack or some leaves to sort would have to do.

Activities in nature are free and are often the most stimulating. Puddle jumping, stone throwing, sand drawing, leaf collecting, flower colour-sorting, stone stacking, mud smooshing, shadow making…

As an aside: Browsing pinterest recently I found a shaving foam painting activity. Armed with a can of shaving foam and a hose, I let my two year old paint on the windows and then wash it off. I supervised from inside where I was safe from getting squirted and it struck me that his little hand movements combined with the hand-prints he was enjoying making were not altogether unlike cave painting…

On isolation and the internet

I hinted earlier that housewifeliness doesn’t always suit me. It can be isolating being at home with children and the internet offers a sense of community in ways that could never have been imagined in the 1950s let alone in the Paleolithic Era.

What would Paleo Parenting suggest? See real people. I like to have people over to my cave. I like getting out of my cave and I also love returning to my cave by contrast.

In my experience, too many days spent ‘in the dark/trapped in the cave’ do not a happy mummy make. If you were to think about your home as a cave, would it make you more motivated to get out?

A daily walk keeps me sane. Seeing real people keeps my life real.

Philosophically, living a social life on the Internet is like being in Plato’s Cave.

I prefer to be part of the real world to help me to keep perspective.

On comparison and happiness

By extension, the internet must be responsible for an awful lot of unhappiness.

Social media is a highlight reel of everyone’s triumphs, holidays and heavily filtered versions of events. Do you think I want to share my worst moments for all to see? That monster boy I created didn’t get any mention…

We all edit our lives to paint a version of our world we are happy with others seeing.

‘Comparison is a thief of joy’ – Theodore Roosevelt

A Paleo parent would see a lot less of what other families are up to behind their door-boulders. Potentially then, could a Paleo parent be happier with less to compare their lives to?

What do you think? Are some aspects of ‘Paleo Parenting’ worth considering? Or should I crawl back inside my cave…

I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.

Kurt Vonnegut

* new term I invented just now

Thanks for reading This is food for thought anyway. Please click ‘follow’ (on the right) before you go and check out my little shop.

Mwah! Love Outie.

Calling Out All Mums: If you don’t do it twice, you are lying.

This is one of parenting’s great mysteries… This is a poem about it. Because I just caught myself out and I’d like to feel more certain that I am not the only one. Or am I?

I'll sniff your bum

I’ll hold your hand

I’ll make a stand

I’ll tickle your feet

I’ll help you to eat

I’ll wipe your chin

I’ll make you grin

I’ll strap your shoes

I’ll make you coo

I’ll wipe your tears

I’ll be all ears

I’ll rock you to sleep

I’ll stroke your cheek

I’ll read you stories

And make good memories

I’ll wash your hands

I’ll change your pants

I’ll clean up poo

I’ll always love you

AND

I’ll sniff your bum

Because I’m your mum

And I’ll sniff it again just to check.

Like this post?For more fun stuff, please check out my website and click follow before you go (on the right).

Love Outie.